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In a sprawling, bustling metropolis like New York, one might think the chances of crossing paths with someone you are connected with would be rare. As director Chris Terrio shows in his debut feature, Heights, it's not as uncommon as you'd think. Heights explores the connections between a handful of New Yorkers and as the nature of these connections unfolds, drama ensues.

Isabel (Elizabeth Banks) and Jonathan (James Marsden) are perilously close to getting married, but it's apparent that their relationship is tenuous and perhaps not as honest as it could be. The relationship between Isabel and Jonathan effectively forms the nucleus upon which all the other characters in the film rotate.

Glenn Close plays Isabel's mom, Diana, who has doubts about her daughter's imminent marriage. Diana is an accomplished thespian and crosses paths with an aspiring thespian, Alec (Jesse Bradford), who apparently has some kind of connection to Isabel and Jonathan. Rounding things out is Peter (John Light), a journalist covering a story that casts further aspersions on the relationship between Isabel and Jonathan.

As a sunny New York day evolves into shadowy night, the tone of Heights takes on an increasingly serious tone as the connections between these seemingly disparate people comes into clarity. Naturally, the connections between these characters is far from trivial and invariably forces all to confront significant and life changing decisions.

Every actor in Heights manages to bring a certain gravity to their performance reflecting the seriousness of the decision with which they are faced. Of particular note is the performance of Glenn Close who personifies painful longing and regret in Diana. While not the central focus of the film, Diana is riveting when on screen and manages to convey so much with the subtlest gesture.

Chris Terrio manages to craft a complex character study in Heights and coax convincing performances out of his cast. The result is a film that succeeds in engaging and entertaining despite the absence of any real surprises about the trajectory of the story. While the film is in some ways uniquely New York, the struggles these characters face are fairly universal and compelling.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars